It is not entirely reasonable to assume that certain cultures and nationalities have specific qualities. At the same time, however, it seems that most cultures are unique and that the people in them express a range of behaviors and ways of thinking different from others. This may be said of the Spanish, and it goes to how a person should best negotiate with someone from Spain. To begin with, the Spanish tend to be a very proud people, given that their history is so lengthy and the nation has enjoyed great power and standing for many centuries. If the days of the Spanish aristocrat are in the past, the people still retain pride and confidence in their heritage, and this should be taken into consideration when negotiating. More exactly, the best course is to ensure that the Spanish person is treated with consistent respect. I myself would not be overly humble, but I would express myself and my interests in a way always affirming the Spanish as deserving of great respect. I would use language that continually refers to how admirable it is that they are willing to negotiate, and how I am mindful of the honor involved in the process. This is a fine line to walk, I believe; too much deference could be seen as insulting. Nonetheless, I feel that a strong foundation of expressed respect and gratitude is essential to negotiate successfully with the Spanish.
Another cultural quality of the Spanish which must affect negotiation is that they are, generally speaking, an emotional people. This is partly due to the fact that Spain is a Mediterranean country and, like the Italians, the Spanish are influenced by a generally warm climate which promotes a certain kind of attitude. In a sense, the Spanish are “hot-blooded” and they are powerfully swayed by how they feel. When negotiation occurs, then, it is important to understand that emotion is as influential as reasoning, and that feeling may easily be what needs to be addressed. On one level, the Spanish are often very formal in negotiation, likely due to their innate sense of pride. They tend to welcome formality because it imparts greater meaning to what is being negotiated. On another, personal emotion may be amplified because of this pride itself, and anyone dealing with the Spanish should be aware that feeling here demands as much attention as logic.
All the above considered, I would adopt a number of strategies to successfully negotiate with a Spanish person. I believe that humor is valuable in any negotiation, provided it is not overdone and never violates respect. The Spanish, like most European cultures, very much appreciate humor, which is a form of perspective. I would never resort to crude jokes or word play, but there is a strong advantage in making observations and side comments which reflect such perspective. I would even say that, the more serious the matter to be negotiated, the more important it is that some humor be applied to ease any tensions. It also is understood that such a negotiation must be based on reality and mutual needs, and with any culture. If the Spanish have certain cultural characteristics, they still share the universal quality of wanting to negotiate only when it is sensible to do so, and there is reason to negotiate on both sides. To do otherwise would be to insult the other party. Also going to any negotiation, I would use the strategy of knowing as much about the other party as possible. People of all cultures respond well when they feel that the other has a genuine interest in them and their ambitions, and this creates a great advantage. Lastly, and returning to the culture itself, I would be aware that Spanish pride is likely the most important quality I must address, which in turn requires that I reflect a similar sense of pride. More exactly, if I do not express myself with confidence, the Spanish person would perceive me as unworthy of negotiating with them. All of the above translates to the need for a “balancing act” wherein humor, respect, confidence, and strong reasoning are the best tools with which to negotiate with the Spanish.